Inmate suicides in the Correctional Service of Canada

Crisis. 1997;18(4):157-62. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910.18.4.157.


This article presents descriptive statistics on the 66 suicides occurring in federal institutions in Canada over a 4-year period. Criminological and institutional factors of those who committed suicide included lengthy involvement in the criminal justice system, a greater likelihood of being incarcerated for robbery or murder, and involvement in institutional incidents of a serious nature. In addition, 62% of the inmates who committed suicide had been transferred from other institutions within 6 months prior to suicide, though 59% evidenced no indicators of suicidal intent and 44% were not considered to be depressed at the time of suicide. Family problems (29%) were the most commonly hypothesized motivating factor in the suicides, followed by denial of a request for appeal, parole, or transfer (26%), fear of other inmates (24%), and substance abuse problems (21%). Current and planned suicide prevention and intervention strategies of the Correctional Service of Canada are discussed in the context of these findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prisoners / psychology
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide Prevention